Teenagers are bombarded with expectations. Whether it’s parents demanding good behavior, teachers expecting good grades, or peers wanting all their free time, it can be tough for teens to actually focus on what they really want. How can you help your teenager be real, genuine, and able to discover what truly matters to them in life?

Hobbies — The Key to Discovering Yourself As a Teenager

The best way to encourage your child to find their true self is to let them pursue some interests. Hobbies allow them to explore new opportunities and challenges in environments away from the pressures of home and school. They’re also helpful when transitioning from middle school to high school, helping to form connections and a sense of belonging during times of change. Benefits can include:

  • Learning strengths and weaknesses
  • Forming connections with peers and adults
  • Developing problem-solving skills
  • Expanding social networks
  • Teaching and learning from others

If your teen hasn’t expressed an interest in a hobby, you can help. Here’s how.

Encourage exploration and curiosity

Be open and willing to nurture your teen’s interests and then take some time to see what is offered in your town or city.

Recognize introverted vs extroverted

You can help your teen find their passions and interests by knowing whether they’re more naturally introverted or extroverted. If your child isn’t that extroverted naturally, they might be trying to fit into a box that’s not suited to them and vice versa.

Support, but don’t steer

Be wary of guiding your teen to a specific path based on what you envision for them. Your most important role is to let your teen know they are loved and valued for who they are, not what they produce. What they choose as a college major or career path is just that — a path. We all grow, mature, and find our way as we move through life.

Putting the time in now to discover what comes naturally to your teen can make future life decisions easier. Help them forge a strong, positive identity and they’ll stand firm in it regardless of what everyone else does.